Bloganuary Day 12

Useless Girl: A Nano-Story

Photo by cottonbro studio on

Call me Cinderella—except, my Prince Charming is the CEO of a startup who’s never home, and I’ve traded evil step-relatives for a mother-in-law who doesn’t speak English.

She lifts a crooked finger coated in dust she’s wiped from the edge of a ceiling fan blade.

“Faltu larki.”

Since moving to Pakistan, I’ve slowly picked up on the Urdu words she mumbles around the house. I know “larki” means girl, and from the way she curls her upper lip at the dust on her finger, I suspect “faltu” isn’t “good.” But I’m more confused by how she was able to reach the fan when I’m barely five feet and she doesn’t even come to my shoulders.

“Seerhi kahan hai?” I ask. God, I hope I said, “Where’s the ladder?”

“Amriki bahu. Aray, wow!” She waves her arms and leaves the room.

I don’t think I’m making a good impression.

© 2023 Nortina Simmons

Snowball Cider

woman and man playing snowball fight

Snowball Cider

Snowflakes trickle down windowpane.
She twists bulbs tightly,
lights up the tree in green, red, and blue,
breaks apart earth and sky blanketed
in white. She sips hot apple cider
from a mug, steps onto the porch,
watches him shovel the walkway.
Ice cold ball of cotton hurls for her head,
disintegrates into powdered water droplets
when met with mug. Return fire not as friendly,
metal shovel shatters porcelain—
scalding cider splashes skin.

© 2015 Nortina Simmons

Photo by Ivan Mudruk on

Originally published December 16, 2015.

I saw mommy blowing Santa Claus

Who spiked the eggnog? I’ll never tell. But it’s just what we need to liven the party, even if it’s only the two of us.

“You’re all I want anyway.” You slur your words, dancing loosely while holding the martini glass above your head.

“Is that so?”

You nod and curl your tongue around the straight end of a candy cane. Such a tease.

“I’ve been naughty.”

“You deserve a lump of coal.”

I slip out of my suspenders, and you drop to your knees, but then a tiny voice behind me says, “Mommy, what are you doing with Santa?”

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

Cold Turkey

Photo by Monstera on

“Why would anyone want to use a turkey baster to get pregnant? Wouldn’t a syringe be easier? Like inserting a tampon?”

And with that, Thanksgiving dinner was ruined. We stood around the dining room table. On it sat a feast from end to end—roasted turkey, honey baked ham, sweet cornbread, mac and cheese, chicken liver stuffing, sweet potato casserole, rice and giblet gravy, and of course the collards.

Continue reading “Cold Turkey”

NoHoldsBarredPoetryWritingChallenge Day 27: Debacle of the ‘leftover’ mac and cheese

overhead shot of a plate of mac and cheese

The morning after Thanksgiving I wake up craving leftover mac and cheese—only, we didn’t eat the traditional feast this year. Sure, there was turkey, but we chose corn chowder over mac, casserole over stuffing, yams baked rather than candied. But I have all the ingredients—the milk, the cheese, the elbows. No one has to know it’s not actually leftovers— only, the milk is low, so I add vegetable broth, and I’m all out of cheddar cheese, so the ricotta, pepper jack, and parmesan will have to do. The noodles are…the jumbo size. Did I bother to read the box? The cheese sauce looks way too soupy. I’ll add two beaten eggs and bake it in the oven at three hundred and fifty degrees for thirty minutes. It’ll taste…


Well, at least I didn’t experiment on Thanksgiving.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

Thoughts while standing in line for coffee

topless man with black hair and suspenders

I love a man with long hair. Loose or loc’d—it doesn’t matter. As long as he can throw it up into a messy bun, I’m his. All his.

I would gladly bear his children.

“Excuse me, miss?”

The way he rubs his goatee, stares at me with those piercing brown eyes, I worry he may have heard my thoughts.

Good, that voice in my head says, cut to the chase.

He bends down and I lose my nerve. “Not in public!” I squeal.

“I’m sorry?” He hands me my pen. “You dropped this.”

I just might pee on myself.

© Nortina Simmons

Single mom magnet

Front driver's side of the pulpy ice cream truck.

“Pistachio mint, please.”

“Aren’t you a little old to be chasing after the ice cream truck?” I ask as I dip a scoop, drop it into the waffle cone, and dip another.

“Well, that doesn’t clear my suspicions that all ice cream men are perverts.”

“Ouch!” I exchange the cone for her three singles. “We’re just trying to make a nut like all the other squirrels,” I joke.

“Still not helping.”

Something about the way she licks that ice cream tells me she’s willing to test her theory.

“So you’re joining me in the back of this truck or what?”

© Nortina Simmons


“Babe, does this dress make me look fat?”

Raised by a single mother and two older sisters, I’ve been around women long enough to know that this is a trick question. Answer too quickly and she’s sure to accuse me of lying to appease her. Tell her what she’s in denial of—that it indeed does make her look fat—then I’ll receive a clean slap across the face, and dinner at Shondra’s will be canceled.

I clear my throat. “Well—”

“Oh my god!” she shrieks and storms past me.

Note to self, don’t take too long to answer.

© Nortina Simmons

#1MinuteFiction: Black (Eye) Friday

“All this over a toy,” his mom says.

It wasn’t just a toy, it was a collector’s item. Fifty percent off, the cheapest he’s ever seen it, and it was almost his until that beast of a woman drove her elbow through his eye socket.

It wouldn’t be the first time he’s had his ass handed to him by a girl, but this would be the first time he’s gotten arrested for it.


Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. Today’s photo prompt alludes to Black Friday and all the chaos that ensues just 24 hours after we were all thankful for the things we already had…

#1MinFiction: Thanksgiving Calories Don’t Count

Grandma hobbles around the kitchen, fixing everyone’s plate.

She’s deep fried the cornbread, and the turkey. The yams are mostly sugar. So is everything else on the table.

“A salad?” she says, hand on her hip. “Girl, don’t you know Thanksgiving calories don’t count?”

“Thanks, but no thanks, Grandma.”

I’d rather have both my feet than diabetes.


Do you follow the #ThanksgivingClapBack memes on social media? I imagine that last line could easily be one of them, though I wouldn’t dare say it to my Grandma. By the way, she has both her feet. 😉

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. All November, I’m giving you Thanksgiving-themed prompts. Today’s prompt is thanks, but no thanks